Regardless of Traditional or Contemporary Style, the Look, When Done Right, is Unmistakable
By Brian Brennan – Photography by John Jackson
This 1933 Ford five-window coupe began its life as a Gibbon Fiberglass body. It was from this start that Rocky Boler began the obsession that turned this work of ’glass into a hot rod work of art. He teamed up with Mark and Heather Giambalvo of Creative Rod & Kustom (Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania) and the long list of modifications began, yielding this final award-winning result.
Beginning with an uncut Gibbon-body, it was chopped at Creative Rod & Kustom and during this process other body shaping continued, like the removal of the rain gutters above the doors. From here the door and trunk corners were removed, yielding to rounded edges, and handbuilt rear wheelwells were radiused to fit the contour of the wheel and tire combination. The rear of the body was also handbuilt from the decklid down, along with fabricating a custom firewall and cowl. The custom hood and sides were made from steel along with the handbuilt stainless grille by Special Projects out of Plymouth, Michigan. (They build concept cars for Ford Motor Company.) They also built the rear body-mounted grille as well as the hood side grilles. The one-off taillights are recessed into the body with each pair of taillights separated by the custom rear grille. Look closely below what would normally be the rear roll pan area and you will see centered within the fiberglass the molded-in the flush-fit exhaust tips. Once the bodywork and prepping for paint was completed the staff at Creative Rod & Kustom applied the Deep Auburn Pearl from the PPG color palette.
It’s pretty hard to hide the suspension on an open-wheel hot rod and, as such, with this 1933 Ford five-window coupe, while chopped and channeled, there’s no mistaking the wiggly suspension all the way around. The Kugel Komponents fully polished independent front and rear suspension is grafted to the Pete & Jakes frame that features a stretched wheelbase (stock 112 inches to a now 117 inches), pinched nose treatment (common to highboy builds), and the frame is “Z’d” (kick up) in the rear. The fully polished Kugel suspension utilizes aluminum components along with a Ford-style 9-inch rear centersection.
On the subject of aluminum, the driveshaft is made out of aluminum and connects the rearend to the 4L60E transmission controlled by a push-button electric shifter, which is backed up to an LS2. The aluminum block and cylinder heads were smooth before polishing and further detail work was all handled by Street & Performance. Other engine appointments include the Greening Auto Company custom valve covers, the Imagine Injection eight-stack fuel injection, all controlled by a Holley computer; feeding this high-horsepower LS are a pair of custom gas tanks. Exiting the spent gases is more Creative Rod & Kustom handiwork as they fabricated and welded a set of 1-5/8-inch primary tube headers that flow into a custom oval stainless exhaust system measuring 2-½ inches. The exhaust system matches the contour of the frame, keeping it hidden from immediate sight.
When it comes to custom wheels there’s no mistaking EVOD designs. The traditional five-spoke wheel design that has been around since, well, the beginning of custom wheels, was enhanced, bringing about a six-spoke wheel with center wheel cap that holds everything in place. The one-off wheels in front measure 17×7 while the rears are 22×10 and all four wheels are wrapped in Diamond Back Classics rubber with a pair of 225/45R17 in front and 295/45R22 in the rear.
Inside there’s a great deal more custom touches, including the custom seating that allows Rocky to rest comfortably. The seats are custom-made by M&M Hot Rod Interiors out of Holly Pond, Alabama, and artfully stitched in dark brown leather. The headliner is also a dark brown but this time in suede, also positioned by M&M. While seated comfortably Rocky has command of the coupe through the custom-fiberglass dashboard that’s outfitted with Dakota Digital analog gauges complete with 8-grand tach and 160-mph speedo. From here the Vintage Air A/C switches are neatly crafted into a panel that also holds the transmission electric selection button while the A/C vents are mounted to a panel matched to the underdash area positioned in front of the driver and passenger. The A/C lines are run through the frame wherever possible, hiding them from immediate sight. Adding to Rocky’s comfort is an adjustable ididit steering column topped with a Billet Specialties leather-wrapped three-spoke wheel. Mounted adjacent to the column is a Kugel Komponents underdash pedal system, which operates the Wilwood Dynalite calipers that work in tandem with the 12-inch drilled and slotted rotors. Keeping all of the electrics charged is a Ron Francis wiring harness that was installed with all of the individual hookups and terminations handled by Creative Rod & Kustom.
Rocky’s coupe made a “splash” when it hit the scene, taking home a handful of topflight awards (Great 8 at the Detroit Autorama, Top 5 in the Goodguys Street Rod of the Year, North East Rod & Custom Elite 6, Best of Show at the Pittsburgh Motorama, featured at SEMA, and recognized as an NSRA Builder’s Showcase hot rod) yet workmanship like this needs to be seen by more and more rodders. Workmanship and creativity, such as this build, are always in demand and getting an up-close look is always the way to view a hot rod of this lofty achievement. MR